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Housing crisis hurting Emmet County economy, community foundation director says

PETOSKEY — The Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation broke ground on a new workforce housing project in November. However, the executive director for the foundation, David L. Jones, said many more projects like it are still needed.

“We know access to safe affordable housing in this community is at a crisis level,” Jones said.

According to Housing North’s Housing Needs Assessment, Emmet County is in need of housing across the board. Jones said the lack of housing is hurting young people trying to stay in the area and having a heavy impact on the local economy.


“Even post pandemic, especially in the retail, restaurant field, particularly in the downtown areas, [you see] help wanted signs. You can’t blame it all on housing, but it’s certainly one of the major factors,” Jones admitted.

Many employers have had to change their hours, while over 6,500 employees are commuting to work from outside the county as Housing North reports the average rent costs $1,700 a month.

“If we can get more homes built and apartments built that would certainly go a long way to building back up stock solving part of the problem,” Jones explained.

In total Emmet County needs to build over 850 rental units and over 2,500 homes.


The Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation has gotten involved breaking ground on a 60-unit apartment building in November.

“It’s not going to fill that gap of 800-plus apartments needed, but the lofts are going to bring something to downtown that will create a vibrant area,” Jones predicted.

They are expected people to move into the new building by 2025, as they say it’s the first step of many in solving the housing crisis.

“The hope for the future is, 10 years, 20 years from now, we’ll have a more vibrant community,” Jones said.

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